- Onions 6 large red or yellow (about 3 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced from root to stem
- Extra virgin olive oil 4 tablespoons
- Butter 2 tablespoons • 717 kcal
- Sugar 1 teaspoon • 470 kcal
- Salt • 1 kcal
- Cloves Garlic 2, minced
- beef stock 8 cups
- dry vermouth or dry white wine 1/2 cup
- Bay leaves 2
- Fresh thyme 1 tablespoon (loose)
- Black pepper 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
- Brandy 2 tablespoons
- French bread or baguette 8 slices, cut 1-inch thick
- Swiss Gruyere and a sprinkling of Parmesan 1 1/2 cups of grated
If you fancy trying your hand at making soup at home, then this French onion soup makes a tasty change from mushroom or vegetable soup. The onions take a while to properly caramelize, so you must be patient, but the taste, in the end, is worth the wait. This hearty soup is served with a large crouton on the top in the form of oven-baked French bread slices topped with Gruyere or other cheese that melts in the oven. The flavors are amazing, and this soup recipe makes plenty of servings so is very budget-friendly.
In a 5 to 6 quart thick-bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat well with the olive oil.
Cook the onions, stirring often, until they have softened. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Next, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter and cook, stirring often, until the onions start to brown – this takes about 15 more minutes.
Sprinkle with sugar (this helps with caramelization) and 1 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook until the onions are well browned – again, about 10 to 15 more minutes.
Add the minced garlic to the onions and cook for a further minute.
Add the vermouth or wine to the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pot – this is called deglazing.
Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally.
Season to taste with more salt and add freshly ground black pepper. Discard the bay leaves and add brandy if using.
While the soup is simmering, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil and preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven.
Brush both sides of the French bread or baguette slices lightly with olive oil.
Put the bread slices on the sheet pan and place in the oven. Toast until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Turn the toasts over and sprinkle with the grated Gruyere cheese and Parmesan.
Return the bread slices to the oven when it's close to serving time, and bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and transfer one cheese toast slice onto the top of each bowl of soup.
Alternatively, you serve up by using individual oven-proof bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350° F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned.
Use a good-quality beef or chicken stock for this soup, as it does make a difference to how the soup tastes once cooked.